Algal Biorefinery Carbon Conversion Project (National Research Council Canada)
The NRC's Institute for Marine Biosciences retained PROLOG to determine if a commercial business case can be made for converting its bench model photo bioreactor (PBR) technology using special algae strains developed in its laboratory to convert carbon from stack emissions into nutrient-rich, value-added products.
Using market pricing for end products such as bio-fuels; protein and carbohydrate rich feeds, etc. produced from PBR-processed biomass, PROLOG determined that a market exists for an initial "flagship" pilot plant leading to a full 1 million litre/day Algal refinery operation. A major emitter active in the Alberta Oilsands was presented with the results of the financial modeling and business case analysis resulting in a tentative offer of financing and operational assistance.
Market Soundings for Smaller Environmental Footprint Transport Alternatives
In the Canadian North including the northern regions of the provinces, access to resource development properties generally involves finding a route and construction method to create infrastructure over tundra, permafrost, muskeg, and around fens. In most cases this results in seasonal operations only. First Nations remain concerned about negative impacts on the land - including wildlife migration patterns; lake contamination, and social disruption. PROLOG continually examines transport systems that minimize these concerns with smaller footprint alternatives to trucks, trains and planes for transporting goods to mines, drilling sites, pipelines and communities in remote locations, whilst keeping freight costs as low as possible.
Air Cushion Barges - Working with a Singapore-based company to offer the resource industry a relatively simple system that involves moving freight over land or water on barges, elevated up to 2 metres on an air cushion provided by deck-mounted fans and a skirt system. ACB's can move project processing modules from 100 to 2,000 tonnes and can be easily assembled at the end of the public road system with highway-sized components. Propulsion is provided by any number of methods - from heavy duty helicopters to low-footprint tractors. They have been used as ferries on rivers or lakes powered by cable systems, large commercial outboard motors, or conventional tugboats.
Hybrid Air Ships - Liaising with large aircraft manufacturing firms such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, PROLOG has introduced to many of its northern clients possible economies in avoiding surface infrastructure investment altogether by turning to modern aircraft innovations. These companies have designs completed, and prototypes under fabrication - air ships that combine lift similar to dirigibles, but with wing segments that provide directional flight control in high wind conditions, and for take-offs and landings. These aircraft are powered by conventional jet fuel engines driving fans mounted on gimbals on the side of the fuselage, for maneuverability. The hybrids can be operated much more economically than conventional air freighters such as the C-130 Hercules, and will be able to transport from (initially) 25 tonnes, to 250 tonnes planned for later models.